When I was a kid one of my parents’ friends, Howard, was a bit of a TVR nut.
If you’re not familiar with TVR, it is a British sports car brand that started out in Blackpool.
The founder was called Trevor Wilkinson, hence the name TVR basically being a shortened version of Trevor.
TVR was famous for making loud, iconic sports cars, and some risqué marketing stunts.
In 1971, TVR hired a model to pose nude on its stand at the British International Motor Show.
This, as you can imagine, gained the brand a lot of publicity and almost got it banned from ever taking part in the motor show again.
So the next year it hired two nude models.
Every year TVR had an annual owners’ club factory tour and meetup. And one year, Howard took us all with him.
Over the years Howard had a number of TVRs, from 1980s angular ear-exploders, to modern, sleek supercars.
That year, he had an angular 1980s ear-crushing model, a TVR Tasmin. Like this, but in white:
Source: public domain
After the factory tour, all the TVR owners drove to a local hotel to have their convention. So as you can imagine, the entire hotel car park, and all the parking nearby was filled with TVRs from every decade.
Just about every TVR model ever made was on display. So naturally we all chose a favourite.
The car me and my sister chose turned out not to be a TVR at all, but a purple Lotus Elise. Like the one below, but in purple:
Out of all these iconic designs, the one that stood out the most – at least to us – wasn’t even part of the event.
Perhaps that that’s exactly why it stood out the most.
But the thing about the Lotus Elise was, it would stand out anywhere. I’d rank it alongside the Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Diablo in terms of iconic sports cars.
“Hypercars” are going electric
So, why the long story about sports cars from my childhood?
Well, because Lotus has just announced it is creating an electric hypercar: the Evija.
If you’re wondering what it looks like, here’s a rendering:
Source: Lotus Cars
I don’t really know what defines a “hypercar” but I assume that means it’s very, very fast.
In this case, the Evija will go from 0 to 186 mph in under nine seconds. By any standards, that’s pretty incredible. As is the energy efficiency Lotus is claiming:
“With the Lotus Evija, we have an extremely efficient electric-powertrain package, capable of delivering power to the road in a manner never seen before. Our battery, e-motors, and transmission each operate at up to 98% efficiency. This sets new standards for engineering excellence,” says Matt Windle, executive director of sports car engineering at Lotus Cars.
The thing with electric cars, though, is the time you have to wait around to charge them. But not this one apparently.
From Ars Technica:
Williams has designed the battery to be able to accept a charge at up to 800kW—once someone builds a charger this powerful, it should be able to get the battery up to 100% in nine minutes. Until that happens, Evija owners will have to settle for using some of the new 350kW CCS2 fast chargers, which Lotus says will take an Evija’s state of charge from 0 to 80% in 12 minutes. However, a consequence of using a relatively small-capacity battery is a relatively short range—250 miles (400km) as determined by the (rather inaccurate) WLTP test scheme (which probably means closer to 210 miles when tested by the EPA).
With those stats Lotus could make a pretty compelling tagline: 0-186 mph in nine seconds and 0-100% battery in nine minutes.
But what about the price?
Ah, well, it’s going to be… erm… $2.1 million.
As Ars Technica says, this is going to be a “low volume halo car for the rest of the brand” with a production run capped at 130 cars.
So if you have a spare $2.1 million (£1.7 million) lying around, maybe it would be a fun thing to own.
Still, the story here is bigger than this one “halo” car model.
More and more carmakers are betting big on electric. What started as a city car phenomenon has quickly spread out to every area of the car market, from 4x4s to transit vans to hypercars, and even motorbikes.
But it’s not just about hypercars
Beginning this year almost every major manufacturer will offer electric versions of its most popular models…
BMW is bringing out the all-electric Mini Cooper SE, which will retail for £24,400 after the government’s £3,500 plug-in car grant.
BMW is taking orders from October and will ship the cars in March 2020.
Ford is releasing a whole batch of electric vehicles, as I reported back in April:
Then this month, Ford announced it is planning to launch 16 EVs in Europe, eight of which will be on the road before the year is out.
Even Ford’s iconic “white van” is going electric.
From Tech Crunch:
Ford focused on the commercial end of the market as well, with plans to bring an all-electric Transit van to Europe by 2021. Ford is bringing a plug-in hybrid version of the Transit van to market this year. This plug-in hybrid will have a 13.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and Ford’s 1-liter EcoBoost gas engine, which acts as a range extender.
The powertrain will have an all-electric (sometimes referred to as a zero-emission driving range) of 31 miles, and a total 310 miles range using the range extender. The vehicle is being trialed in London, with further testing scheduled to start soon in Valencia, Spain, and Cologne, Germany.
Peugeot will be offering electric versions of all its cars from 2023. Its e-208, which has already gained a lot of attention, is going on sale in “late summer” and will be shipping in early 2020.
And Volkswagen already has an e-Golf, but the big news from Volkswagen this year, in terms of electric cars, was its ID range, which I reported on in May:
VW is making an electric car that it hopes will become the spiritual successor to the VW Beetle.
It will be priced the same as a diesel Golf, and have a 230 mile range.
More than 10,000 people have placed a pre-order for one within 24 hours of VW’s announcement, at £750 deposit a pop. The cars themselves are expected to reach buyers next summer.
“We are not playing,” VW sales chief Juergen Stackmann said at an event in Berlin launching the reservation program. “This is the car to beat for the future, for all our competitors.”
The ID.3 anchors the rollout of more than 20 battery-powered models in coming years with a goal of selling more than 1 million electric cars annually by 2025. The ambitious effort is set to stoke competition in a segment where automakers struggle to generate returns and is mainly driven by tighter pollution regulations. Stackmann said that its electric cars “must make money.”
And then there’s formula E – which is going from strength to strength.
As Campaign reports:
Five years ago, Formula E burst on to the racing scene at the Olympic Park in Beijing. The concept, scribbled on a napkin back in 2011, was for a sport that could demonstrate the potential of sustainable mobility to help create a cleaner world.
Fast-forward to January 2018 and Formula E has increased TV viewing by 42% year on year to 330 million and more than doubled attendance to 476,000 in the same period.
It is attracting big-name brands including Jaguar, Nissan, BMW and Audi, and Formula E secured global technology and robotics company ABB as its first title sponsor from 2018.
The number of brands getting involved with Formula E has “escalated”, according to Crispin Bolt, TRO’s head of partnerships: “You only have to look around and you see Hugo Boss [along with] the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] like Porsche and Mercedes. They’re all entering this now and there is obviously a clear reason behind that.”
That reason can perhaps be found in the scale of the Berlin event’s fan park, which has a variety of brand activations, food stalls and a large gaming area. But Bolt explains that the growing concerns around climate change may also have an impact.
He says: “Everyone cares about the planet, so if you can combine entertainment with something that’s sustainable, that can only be a good thing.”
As you can see, there has been a big shift in the automotive industry towards this new paradigm.
And whenever there is a paradigm shift like this in a major industry, there is a lot of money to be made.
One man who knows more about this topic than most – and how you can invest in it – is Nick O’Connor.
He literally wrote the book on it. In his book, The Exponentialist, he shows where this new market is heading and how you can make money from it as an investor.
If that sounds like something you might be interested in, you can grab a copy of The Exponentialist here.
Until next time,
Editor, Exponential investor
PS If you’re the type of person that can drop $2.1 million on a car, you’ll probably think this $17,000 electric bike from specialised is an absolute bargain. Personally, I can’t understand why anyone would willingly spend $17,000 on an electric pedal bike. But there you go.